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Major moves at Las Vegas sportsbooks on NFL draft props

The first NFL draft in the Entertainment Capital of the World doesn’t have a headliner.

For the first time since 2013, a quarterback likely won’t be among the first five selections. The Raiders don’t have a pick until the third round.

But there promises to be plenty of drama on the NFL draft betting board, starting with the top overall pick.

Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is the consensus favorite at sportsbooks to go No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But there has been some major movement in the market since Station Casinos opened the prop in January.

The most notable move at Station has been on the field, which includes Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker. It opened at 40-1 and is down to the +100 second choice.

“There’s no question we’re rooting against the field at this point,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “A lot of people are thinking Walker is going to go No. 1. It kind of came out of left field. In January, Walker wasn’t even considered to go No. 1 overall.

“Since we’ve had it up, there was a big push on (Alabama tackle) Evan Neal to go No. 1, a push on (Mississippi State tackle) Charles Cross to go No. 1, a big push on Hutchinson. Now it’s on Walker.”

Hutchinson is the -175 favorite at BetMGM to go No. 1. Walker is the +250 second choice at Caesars Sportsbook, where he’s also a -240 favorite to go under his draft position of 3½.

“There’s so much information out there and things change so dramatically,” Esposito said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen this year. There’s not that Andrew Luck or John Elway that everybody knows is going to go No. 1 overall.

“That just adds more intrigue and betting interest as well.“

Sharps on No. 2 pick

Bettors at BetMGM and Caesars loaded up on Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux to be the No. 2 overall pick to the Detroit Lions before both books took the prop off the board.

BetMGM reported sharp action on Thibodeaux this week at 2-1 odds and he was the ticket and money leader at Caesars, where his odds had plunged from 11-1 to 5-1 in early April.

“We got an alert that we were receiving a lot of bets on Thibodeaux,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “Then we just have to adjust from there. It’s just the nature of the draft. We’ve already had three big moves for the No. 1 pick. If the No. 1 pick isn’t a consensus, who knows what’s going to happen two through five.”

Major move on No. 3

North Carolina State guard Ikem Ekwonu is the +240 favorite at Caesars to be the third pick in the draft by the Houston Texans. Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is the +275 second choice and Neal is +350.

But the most popular bet to go No. 3 is Derek Stingley. The Louisiana State cornerback is the ticket and money leader at Caesars and has seen his odds slashed from 100-1 to 4-1.

QB1

Before the NFL combine, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett was a -120 favorite at Station to be the first QB selected. But Liberty’s Malik Willis supplanted him as the favorite after Pickett’s hands measured smaller than any active NFL QB.

Willis is the -155 favorite at BetMGM to be the first QB picked. Pickett is the +140 second choice at Station.

Station has props on the team to draft Pickett and Willis. The ticket leaders for both are the Panthers, who have the sixth pick. Carolina is the +160 favorite to pick Pickett and the 3-1 favorite to draft Willis.

“But Carolina is in the mix for Baker Mayfield,” Esposito said. “Do they take one at six if they have Mayfield and Darnold?”

Esposito noted that Pickett was initially recruited to Temple by Panthers coach Matt Rhule.

“There’s so much uncertainty. That’s what makes the draft so much fun and what makes me a draftnik,” he said. “It’s the best soap opera on TV.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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